Featured image from London2012
I hear you want to represent Liberia in the Olympics. Well, you’ve come to the right spot. This article should give you enough information to get started. Getting to the Big Game takes lots of stamina. The journey is filled with competitions and qualifiers, but it all starts with the athlete.
1. KNOW THE QUALIFYING STANDARD
As an athlete, you have to know the qualification criteria for your sport. The international federation that governs your sport sets a basic standard and publishes it to their website. Runners can get qualification standards from the International Association of Athletics Federation webpage. Boxers should visit the International Boxing Association site. Find your international federation and start there.
Sometimes federations publish their Olympic qualifying criteria closer to the Olympic Games. They might even amend the standards. Pay attention to the possible changes. If you cannot find the standards for the upcoming Olympics, use the criteria for the previous Games as a benchmark.
Now that you know how fast you must run or what competitions you must enter, start working towards that goal.
2. TRAIN AND COMPETE
Serious Olympic hopefuls must adhere to a strict schedule. You must learn to weave training and competing into your everyday life. In addition to the time commitment, prepare for the financial responsibility.
You must register and attend specific competitions in order to qualify for the Olympics. Again, you’ll find this information on your sport’s international federation webpage. The costs to train, travel, and compete adds up, but there are ways to minimize these expenses.
- INSIDE LIBERIA
If you live in Liberia, you can contact the national federation for your sport. Depending on your sport, this could be helpful. Some federations are more active than others. Liberia has 29 sports federations/associations.
In 2015, the Ministry of Youth and Sports established guidelines for each government funded federation and association. These rules were created to monitor the organizations and assist them with their missions. If you qualify, your sport’s federation should assist you in representing Liberia. Below are some active Liberian Sports Federations.
Other national sports federations/associations include golf, kickball, amputee football, taekwondo, weight lifting, karate, volleyball, cricket, lawn tennis, handball, swimming, cycling, wrestling, netball, chess, wushu, canoeing and rowing.
If your sports federation is not active, you can still compete in international competitions, but you’ll have to represent a local club. This means your club will have to register you and assist you with funding.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also offers athletic training scholarships. Financing your journey will take time and research.
- OUTSIDE LIBERIA
If you live outside Liberia, don’t depend on the national sports federations for too much help with training. Their job is to develop their sport within the country. You might need to take advantage of your local resources (schools and clubs), until closer to competition time. Even during competitions, Liberian sports federations have struggled to finance Liberian athletes. Still, try to communicate with the federation. They might be able to guide you in some area.
Remember the IOC offers scholarships. Do your research. A little research can go a long way.
What if Liberia does not have a federation for your sport? No problem. The Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC) can vouch for you.
3. CONNECT WITH LIBERIA NATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE
The LNOC submits the final roster for the Liberia Olympic Team to the International Olympic Committee. The IOC then decides whether or not to accept each athlete as Liberia’s representative. It’s the LNOC’s job to make sure every athlete is qualified to represent the country.
Visit the official Olympic webpage to contact the LNOC.
If you have been training, competing, and meet your sports’ Olympic qualification standard, you might get the chance to represent our beloved Lone Star. Keep in mind this process is easier read than done.
This path can be filled with bumps, sharp turns, and even dead ends. You will probably spend half your time trying to reach the appropriate contact person and the other half searching for funds, but don’t give up. Remain persistent and keep working hard. I believe both of these issues will get better over time.
Read more about becoming an Olympian in the Olympic Charter.